A Guide to Self Teaching
Before you start: Identify your motives
You will need to make yourself aware of what motivated you to start learning your target skill in the first place. This will help when doubts settle in, which probably will happen. You just have to be prepared!
- Remind yourself of the many things this new skill set you are working on will enable you to do. It is an opportunity to encounter yet more opportunities.
- Keep in mind that what you are doing is admirable! You are taking responsibility for your own personal development, which is a blatant sign of high ambition and commitment.
Embrace the path ahead, for the destination is worthwhile.
Expect to have a challenging start
Unlike walking into a taught class where the teacher already has a syllabus and a clear plan to follow, you likely are going to start off as a complete beginner with no guidelines. This is the hardest part to survive for some. This is why it's probably a good idea to start slowly but steadily, focusing on the very basics and mastering the foundations that will allow you to achieve a higher level of mastery in the future.
- Try searching for content (be it videos or websites) made for beginners. It is best to work your way up rather than jump into something you cannot handle and get discouraged.
- If you know someone who already has the skill you are looking to learn, ask for their guidance. They also have gone through the process of learning and mastering it.
Acknowledge the small victories
Or, as the overused phrase would imply: "Rome wasn't built in a day."
Take a step back and realize that the people you look up to for inspiration or guidance in this new endeavor have spent lots of time practicing, and were one day in your shoes. You probably already know this, but you may forget it because you are so focused on seeing progress: you have to be okay at something before being great at it.
Don't limit yourself to one resource
There are countless options that provide resources for learning (thanks, internet). There's the choice of signing up to an online "academy" (such as Udemy, Skillshare or Lynda.com, to name a few) or to search for resources that are subject-specific and more tailored to your interests.
Either way, a good starting point is to do a basic research of websites, applications and videos regarding your subject of interest. Once you settle on a main resource, make sure to add secondary resources that will allow you to broaden your knowledge.
Internet isn't the only option!
Let's not forget there is something called 'books'.
They will offer an incredible depth of information, so use them to take your knowledge to the next level!
Switch up your approach to learning!
When you commit to learning a skill, you know it is going to be a long journey. So, you should at least try to make it as varied and interesting as possible to limit the moments where doubts may settle in.
- Using varied resources with different layouts and different approaches to learning about the same skill/subject will help you to grasp information more easily no matter how it is presented to you. You will become a more versatile learner.
- Involve all your senses! If you spend all your time reading about pottery instead of trying it yourself, you're not going to improve much. The same applies when you're eating all the time instead of learning how to cook, or only listening to music instead of playing an instrument and singing along.
This isn't to say that you shouldn't observe before trying things yourself, but don't get too comfortable in the observer's position, because you're going to have to take the driver's seat soon.
Do not stop seeking progress
Being able to do something isn't the same as being a master at it. Some people do not want to go the extra mile to seek perfection, and that's fine. However, if you do want to take it to the next level, here are things to consider:
- Offer to teach others your newly-learned skill. Not only will this help you feel accomplished but, you will soon realize that helping others is one of the best ways to help yourself consolidate that knowledge.
- Read about people who have already mastered your skill. If you have the opportunity, meet some of them. The essence of being a "master" at something is in the mindset and work ethic you develop, so try to decipher the secrets of how to think like a master in order to become a master.
- Obviously, practice makes perfect. Your progress will become evident. The important thing is to not hold yourself back from showing off your skill despite your imperfection. Make those mistakes, because no one is judging you! Did you forget you were your own teacher?
- If you think that skill/area of interest is something you want to dedicate your work and life to, you may want to invest in a more intense, accredited learning program to certify your knowledge. Nevertheless, you can be extremely proud to say that the most incredible part of your journey is that you had enough discipline and commitment to teach yourself what others didn't.
One Self Teaching Experience Can Lead to Many More
Self Teaching is a skill itself! So, the more you do it, the better you will get at learning skills, and the more skills you will master. It's a loop of positive reinforcement!
© 2017 H Bakerley